Saturday, 24 August 2013

Charles Meacham | Calcutta's Taxi

Photo © Charles Meacham-All Rights Reserved

I just read in the India Times that the color of the iconic taxis in Kolkata is to be shortly changed from yellow to blue and white.

Imagine! Although there are new models in the taxi business, most of Kolkata's taxis are antiquated yellow painted Hindustan Ambassadors and I wager their owners and drivers are raising hue and cry at the government's decision. To add further insult to injury, the West Bengal government is reported to be planning to introduce a new fleet of 2,000 cabs in the city which could never refuse passengers, citing late hours, inclement weather or whatever pretext.

So perhaps as a swan's song to these venerable workhorses and for the 'fiddled-with' meters, here's Charles Meacham's Calcutta's Taxi, a photo essay on the yellow taxis that crawl around this teeming metropolis.

I often used these yellow taxis to travel from one end of Kolkata to the other during my Durga Puja Photo Expedition-Workshop in October 2011, and I recall an occasion when seated in the front seat alongside the driver, I almost passed out from the heat spewed out by the motor's heat of the old and ill-maintained Ambassador. Obviously there was no air conditioning, nor were the open windows any help whatsoever in Kolkata's heat and humidity.

Charles Meacham was born outside of Philadelphia, and started traveling immediately after high school. Having spent the last ten years photographing, he has received over 30 international photography awards, and attended the 25th annual Eddie Adams workshop. He co-founded the Walk With Pride project which aimed to bring social awareness to LGBT Rights by photographing pride marches around the world.  After 10 years of living in Asia, Charles calls Brooklyn his home.